The Belt by Angela Rieck


I have fostered and rehabilitated many dogs over the years and I have learned a lot of tricks. One of them is a belly band for incontinent or un-housetrained male dogs. A belly band is a strip of cloth about 5” longer than the circumference of the dog’s belly. I sew Velcro strips at each end, place a urinary incontinence pad inside, wrap it around his private parts and voila! Any undesired urination goes into the pad. (Just remember to take it off when he goes outside!) When one of my elderly male dogs lost his flawless housebreaking, a belly band was a small price to pay to have one more happy year with him.

In an effort to move forward with my life, I decided to date. Since I had been out of the market for over 26 years, I was inexperienced, ineffective and confused. The numbers were against me as well. While over 60% of widowers are in a serious relationship within 2 years, only 19% of widows are. Some of it has to do with the numbers. Of the estimated 600,000 people who are widowed each year, 2/3 of them are women. There are a lot of great widows out there and my tepid desire to dating added to the challenges.

But, to my surprise, one day I saw a man out of the corner of my eye notice me at Target. I observed him follow me while I went shopping, but when I turned around to smile at him, he was gone. At the checkout stand and I saw him quickly maneuver to get behind me. I tried to muster my best unawkward smile and he returned it. He started to take the items out of his cart and then he saw it. I had come to the Target to buy urinary incontinence pads for my dog. The shrink wrapped bright green package was jostling all alone on the conveyor belt.
The man’s face instantly reflected a look of panic, trying to decide whether to go to another counter or ignore me. I had one moment to say something, but somehow, “they are for my dog” seemed akin to the “dog ate my homework.” He mumbled something, gathered his things and made a mad dash to the next aisle.

The bright green shrink-wrapped package continued its slow, bumbling journey down that belt. The check-out person waved it in the air and asked if I wanted a bag. I said no.
Potential date averted.

Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.


Letters to Editor

  1. Oh my! As a dog fosterer, I can relate, and may use your suggestion of belly bands. But the rest of your story just made me laugh. I hope you get a good date soon!

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